Article By Lauren Z. Bonar - April 23rd, 2008
A while back on my way
to cover a show in Mexico, I had the honor to visit with Gary Schott Sr.
As an old school monster truck driver, Gary has competed against many
other big names from the past and played a big role in the development of
the monster truck industry during its early days.
At the time of this
visit, Gary had just sold his Terminator monster truck and for the first
time in many years, did not own a monster truck. Not to worry, already
having a frame built, Gary was in the process of building a new one.
Gary Schott started driving monster trucks in 1983.
Gary owned an off-road shop in San Marcos, CA and he built his first
monster truck as an advertising tool like many in the early days. His
first monster truck was called the San Diegan. Gary stated that he had
seven or eight monster trucks over the years which were all different
types, styles and colors.
This visit was not so much about Gary’s life as it was about his
collection of old school photos and magazines. Gary told me about
different photos and magazine pictures as I scanned them. Gary and I both
were excited to bring some old school pictures back to the fans, as we all
know that monster truck fans love the history that started this sport.
Let's take a look at some of the pictures Gary was kind enough to share
and the story behind them:
The picture below is one of
Terminator competing against Sam Sturges in Unnamed and Untamed in Grass
Some of these pictures will
not have the dates or years, but are still fun to view.
Sports Illustrated Magazine in 1987 took the following picture at a Mickey
Thompson event. According to Gary, the Terminator was the first monster
truck featured in Sports Illustrated Magazine and it was taken at the LA
This picture was taken during a Dave Mathews event at Redding Fair Grounds
This was one of the Terminator’s first promotional pictures.
The picture below is of the Enforcer before it was made into a ride truck.
The Enforcer is being driven by Jake Blackwell at the Santa Maria
Fairgrounds in 2002.
The following picture was taken before a show at Qualcomm Stadium in San
Diego in 1990.
This picture is of the ExTerminator monster truck before an SFX event.
Gary Schott’s valvoline monster truck was featured in a Santa Monica
newspaper before an event in 1990.
As Gary stated, this was at the Santa
Rosa Fairgrounds during a Seth Dalton Golden State Pickup Parts Show.
Below, Gary Schott in the Terminator is taking on Todd Froelich in Bear
Foot during a
2000 Clear Channel event in Bakersfield, CA.
The picture below is from 1990 at a John Borba event in Hawaii. As most
fans know, John Borba
is the CEO of WGAS. Gary stated the he took the
victory in this event with the blue ExTerminator.
These pictures of Goldbricker and Terminator were scanned from John
Borba’s program from the same
1990 event in Hawaii as above. Also in the
pictures are some unidentified mud boggers.
This was taken at a Black Knight/ Mike Brady event in Yuma, AZ in 1987.
The following picture was at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler,
AZ in 1986.
Here is another shot of Terminator at Firebird International Raceway in
These were taken at the Tokyo Dome in 1987 during a SRL Pace event.
Above is Gary Schott in Terminator
and below is Jim Oledecker in Rolling
Thunder. Gary explains that he worked for Jim starting in 1983 while
building his own monster truck. Gary also explained that Rolling Thunder
had a Detroit diesel engine with
a 5 speed manual transmission.
The Flying Eagle and the Maui Monster also at the Tokyo Dome in 1987.
Super Pete driven by Mike Welch out of Washington state and So High
Too driven by David Bell out of Arizona.
Penn Mountain Monster and Monster Mash. Monster Mash was Mike Welch’s other truck and his very first.
Jim Kramer in Bigfoot.
Terminator taking out the Boss, driven by Jim Reese in Aloha Stadium
Hawaii in 1988.
This was another John Borba event.
(20)This is Cliff Starbird’s Wild-Stang in Oakland, CA in 1984.
Off Roads Thunder Trucks Magazine features the Skoal Copenhagen
by Seth Dalton in the fall of 1987.
(22) Jim Kraemer in Bigfoot flying high, year and place are unknown.
(23) Auto Trader Magazine 2002 from San Diego.
This picture is of monster trucks from the past. Gary could not remember
all the names, but there have
been a few mentioned above. This picture will be a great one for
discussion in the fan forum.
(26) Bigfoot & Jim Kraemer displaying the American colors proudly.
(27) Brian Cardiff in Hawaiian punch at an Indio, CA event in 1985.
Terminator on the hauler getting ready to go to an event in 1986 or
Taurus in Reno, NV driven by Eldon Depew.
In June of 1986, Gary Schott breaks the Terminator in half at Indio,
CA. Gary stated that the crowd stood up
and sang Happy Birthday to him,
even though it was not his birthday. Gary chuckled as he explained this,
but he did say it was not funny 21 years ago.
Terminator and Big Foot ready to go before an event in San
Bernardino, CA. Gary could not
remember the year exactly, but an educated
guess was 1986 or 1987.
This picture is of a reverser over the cars in San Bernardino, CA.
that he did lots and lots of donuts that day.
This picture is from the movie Serving Sarah
in 2001. In this scene you see Mathew Perry (Friends) running from
El Toro Diablo. In this movie, Gary doubles for actor Vincent Pastore
(Sopranos). For this movie, both of Gary’s monster trucks were turned into
El Toro Diablo’s.
Another Serving Sarah picture with two more monster trucks. On the
left is Terry Woodcock in Cyclops and on
the right is Jake Blackwell in
the Enforcer. According to Gary, this is one of the opening scenes in the
(35) This is Jake Blackwell in the Enforcer at Victorville, CA. Gary
thought this one was around 2003 or 2004. Gary said Jake worked for him
for about six years.
Gary has appeared in two movies, Serving Sarah and Car 54
Where Are You. He also did some test scenes for Rat Race, but
never appeared in the movie.
I asked Gary about his worst roll over and he stated it only
happened once in Yakima, WA during a race against Moving Violation driven
by Brian Welch. Gary did a double flip in a steel bodied monster truck
which broke the steering and caused him to veer into the other lane.
Moving Violation ran right into him with steel and glass shattered
everywhere. Gary was hurt in this accident but he did not explain what or
how bad the injuries were. He did say that he had no idea what town he was
in after this incident.
Hopefully, Gary and I will be forgiven if any names are spelled
wrong of anyone mentioned. Gary was sharing his memories and my knowledge
of the fine details of monster truck history isn't as sharp as many
others. It is my hope that Monster Blog fans enjoy this article and that
it brings back memories to some. I am also pleased to share with the
younger generation of monster truck fans the name and history of Gary
I would like to thank Gary for his time and hospitality during my
journey to Mexico last year, and for taking the time to share some history with us.
Stay tuned fans, you haven't heard the last of Gary Schott.
- Lauren Z. Bonar
All photos used with
permission of Gary Schott Sr.